On 20 October, more than 300 delegates gathered for the second FIEC leaders’ conference at the Hayes conference centre, Swanwick. The purpose, as Colin Tamplin, new trust board chairman put it, was ‘to further the cause of the gospel through our churches’.
The past two years have seen big changes in the structure of the FIEC as it seeks within biblical principles to face the challenges of gospel ministry today.
This conference gave an opportunity for the new director, John Stevens, formerly pastor of City Church, Birmingham, new training director Trevor Archer, formerly pastor of Chessington Evangelical Church, and new pastoral director, Richard Underwood, formerly general secretary of the FIEC, to share their vision.
The ideas and plans sounded great and I had a sense of excitement to be part of the FIEC as well as a realisation that progress won’t happen overnight. There is a great need of prayer for wisdom and guidance.
Each morning began with a time of reflective worship and prayer, led by John Gillespie, pastor of Grace Community Church, Looe, in Cornwall. There was a selection of helpful seminars on a variety of topics, including leading through change, music in church, encouraging evangelism among women, resolving conflict and taking on apprentices.
Each evening, Ray Evans, pastor of Grace Community Church, Bedford, took us to the book of Philippians, demonstrating and encouraging Christ-like leadership.
I came away refreshed and challenged through the ministry, encouraged through fellowship with other believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and glad that I as a pastor and the church in which God has placed me are part of the FIEC.